IRS Also Targeted Pro-Life Groups: Will Media Report?

We’ve heard a lot in the past few days about the IRS applying extra scrutiny to groups with “Tea Party” or “patriots” in their name, but it appears the unfair targeting runs deeper than that. As the Thomas More Society, a non-profit public interest law firm, first reported yesterday, the IRS harassed at least two pro-life organizations that applied for tax-exempt status as early as 2009.

When the Coalition for Life of Iowa submitted such an application, the IRS reportedly demanded that they promise, under perjury of law, not to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood. The IRS claimed it would only approve the group’s application after such a written pledge was received. Of course, Planned Parenthood is a major supporter of Barack Obama and their concerted effort to attack Republicans as waging a "war on women" was a central base-motivating message Democrats used in the 2012 reelection campaign.

But this was not the only instance. The Thomas More Society explained in a press release:



"In another similar case, the IRS withheld approval of an application for charitable tax-exempt recognition of Christian Voices for Life, questioning the group’s involvement with ‘40 Days for Life’ and ‘Life Chain’ events. The Fort Bend County, Texas, organization was subjected to repeated and lengthy unconstitutional requests for information about the viewpoint and content of its educational communications, volunteer prayer vigils, and other protected activities."

 

Sally Wagenmaker, special counsel for the Thomas More Society, asserted that Christian Voices for Life clearly qualifies as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. She speculated that the IRS was badgering the organization purely because of its pro-life message, rather than any real concerns about exemption status.

If the IRS has been targeting pro-life groups as well as Tea Party organizations, that is a major development in this IRS scandal that deserves press coverage. So far, a handful of lesser media outlets have reported it, including The Washington Examiner and HotAir.com. But will the mainstream media find it newsworthy enough to cover, considering that they themselves often target pro-life groups through their reporting? That remains to be seen.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.